Friday, October 2, 2009

Snake vs. Toad ---Snake 1-Toad 0

My nephew-in-law, Mike Heindl, sent me some interesting pics this week. He and my niece, Brenda, live in Hockessin, Delaware at the Oversee Farm, a Nature Conservancy Property. They are currently acting as caretakers and helping restore the buildings on the property.


While out walking, Mike found an American Toad, Bufo americanus, in a load of trouble. Apparently, an Eastern Garter Snake, Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis, had snuck up on the toad and was proceeding to eat it alive. WARNING-The following pictures are a bit graphic.
I have never seen a garter snake eat a toad, and never imagined they could swallow a toad that large. Amazing! (Mmmmffff, delicious toad burger.)
This pic really shows the toad puffed up. One of the toad's defense mechanisms is to inflate himself to appear larger and to make it difficult for the snake to swallow him. The toad has its legs spread out to further deter the snake. (I am gianormous, you cannot eat me, snake.)

Here the snake has really expanded its jaw to swallow the toad. They can unhinge their jaw to swallow prey much larger than their head. If we could do this, we could swallow a melon whole. It also looks like the toad has given in to its fate.

This photo is great because it looks as if the snake has arms. By now, I would think the toad knows it is a goner.

This photo shows the large lump the toad has made in the snake's belly.


This last look shows the toad's leg pushing against the side of the snakes belly. Is he kicking? Waving goodbye? Or possibly another common American hand signal... Poor toad!

Thanks, Mike for the great pics!

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16 comments:

Anya said...

Very interesting pictures :)
Amazing shots !!!
The nature is BEAUTIFUL ;)

Squirrel said...

Oh, that was awesome! I'm going to send some of my friends to your blog to see this.

JD and Max said...

Good grief! These are incredible - how amazing to get that series of shots. That last photo of the leg being pushed against the belly of the snake is great. As Anya said - nature is beautiful. :)

We love Luna said...

omigod, this post is very impressive, fabulous picture's sequence.
Happy Camera Critters
purrs and love
Luna

Rose said...

I would never have thought a snake would eat a toad either...amazing photos.

Tabib said...

Toad will never win.
Great pics.

eileeninmd said...

Interesting series of photos, but I felt sorry for the poor toad. Thanks for sharing your critter.

shopannies said...

nature is cool in pictures but never need to see them

Marie Höglund said...

Ugh!!!!! I´m glad that kind of snake does not exist in sweden ;-)

magiceye said...

amazing pics

Adrienne in Ohio said...

Wow, interesting series! I can't help feeling badly for the toad, but seeing both the defense and predatory designs of both creatures in action is fascinating!

Calico Crazy said...

I feel a little bad for the toad, but the snake needs to survive as well. Very cool picture sequence.

Calico Contemplations

Quilt Works said...

Wow, what a series! Fantastic job! Thanks for sharing!


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Janet Creamer said...

Thanks everyone for stopping by and the great comments. Nature never ceases to amaze me!

Penelope said...

I saw a similar scene a few years ago at a local nature area. I heard the toad or frog persistently calling, which drew my attention to what was going on. I felt so sorry for it!

Jana said...

I was hoping the toad would get away. :(